Media Statement - NSW laws should not harm children

NSW Council for Civil Liberties is horrified about the announcement by the Minns Government to tighten NSW bail laws for children. 

Tightening bail laws to keep children locked up hasn’t worked in a single place it’s been tried. Prisons are no place for children and young people, this is a step backwards for criminal justice in NSW not a step forwards.

Lydia Shelly, President, NSW Council for Civil Liberties said:

It is outrageous that the Minns Government is announcing measures to incarcerate children rather than listening to the evidence to raise the age of criminal responsibility in NSW.  Evidence should guide policy; it is so disheartening to witness steps that could harm rather than protect our young people.

When children this young are forced through a criminal legal process, their health, wellbeing, and future are put at risk. Punitive approaches simply don't work, and we know this. Locking kids up is not a solution.

In recent years it has been refreshing to see that policy development has been led by evidence, resulting in the youth crime rate in this state substantially lowering. It is shameful that this announcement marks a return to the law and order “race to the bottom” politics based on confected outrage driven by poll results and tabloid journalism rather than evidence.

The Premier is sowing the seeds for intergenerational trauma and further fissures in social cohesion. This will not help vulnerable communities nor make them safer. Children will be harmed by this policy.